Sorry for the cheesy headline and the length of this article.
By Alec Thomas
I know it’s hard to say, but I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed this hard with a movie to date.
When I first heard about the movie “Split,” I had no literal idea what it was about. The only thing that I had heard about this movie was the fact that one of the main characters in it has 23 different personalities, and therefore suffers from dissociative personality disorder (DID). It totally seems that at first that I can totally imagine this situation in real life and that while unusual, it could happen. However, after the middle of the movie, it got completely ridiculous.
To give you an idea of what happens in the movie (spoilers ahead), the movie starts out with a birthday party of a sweet, 18-year old girl whose name doesn’t matter really. Her father is about to take her and her friend (whose name also doesn’t matter) home, when they notice one of the girls at the party doesn’t have a ride. So, he voluntarily takes all three girls home. As they step into the car, a character knocks out the father, steps into the car, and then knock-out sprays all three girls. We learn this is the character with the 23 personalities, from the next scene including the same character, but as a much more cheerful personality that’s relatable.
Once the girls are awake in some unknown room, the mysterious and harsh man that abducted them tries to take one of the girls and make them “dance for him.” He leaves the room with the girl and after much screaming and yelling, she gets thrown back into the room unharmed. A few minutes later, the same mysterious man comes out dressed in a red dress and necklace, with a completely different tone. The rest of the movie is basically just us getting to see the girls attempt to leave, their failures, and the development of the split character, whose name we learn to be Kevin. We get to see a character named Hedwig, who is a nine-year old personality of Kevin, and he develops a strong connection with one of the girls (the only one who matters), named Casey, played by Anya Taylor-Joy. There is a recurring theme of the twenty-fourth personality coming out and basically unleashing hell upon the world, whose name is The Beast.
In the beginning scene of the movie, we meet Doctor Karen Fletcher, who is basically Kevin’s therapist. She believes that the people who have personality disorders across the world are not below the normal humans. They are rather much further developed than the humans, since they have the traits to take on multiple personalities, sometimes all at once. She tries to understand Kevin and all of his personalities. In the movie, they call it The Light. The idea is that all of the 24 personalities are sitting in chairs in a circle in an empty room. The personalities are allowed to ‘grab’ The Light, which means they portray Kevin in real life. Dennis and Patricia (the abductor and the red dressed personalities) are the ones that are practically always in charge. They firmly believe in The Beast and pray to him and look to him for all their problems and beliefs. Dr. Fletcher believes that The Beast is a fictional character made by Patricia and Dennis, just used to control all of the other personalities and keep them in line.
Dr. Fletcher asks Dennis if she can visit his place so that they may talk of their personalities more and therefore learn more of each one. She specifically asks Dennis if he’s ever seen The Beast before, and he responds with a no. When they walk into his ‘home,’ we see this place and the exact same place where the three girls are being kept. Dr. Fletcher discovers one of the girls, starts crying, tells Dennis that she cannot go on like this and this is improper and that this is illegal, which prompts Dennis to knock-out spray her as well and then lay her on a bench in an adjacent room. Then, through a weird series of blackouts, we see Kevin travel to a subway station, buy flowers, wait for the subway, lay them on the ground in front of the approaching subway, get on the subway, then magically turn into The Beast. Now they portray The Beast as some twelve-foot tall, twice-as-long fingers, and as a long, black, shadow figure. This is nowhere near the case.
In reality, it’s just James McAvoy, who has slightly larger veins, no shirt, and is just really muscularly looking (is that a word?). And then Kevin proceeds to sprint the entire time from this subway station back to the place where he’s keeping the girls, and now Dr. Fletcher, hostage. He then proceeds to kill Dr. Fletcher by squeezing her to death, then eats the two girls that aren’t Casey (told you they didn’t matter). Then before Dr. Fletcher dies, she writes something on a note that Casey finds after getting out of her room with a nail, (a f—ing nail). It really just says Kevin’s full name, ‘Kevin Wendell Crumb,’ which brings out the real Kevin inside all of the personalities. He says to kill him before every personality starts coming out at one time, and then Casey runs away with a shotgun that Kevin told her how to find (with convenient shells) and runs down a narrow hall. The Beast now comes out of Kevin and starts chasing Casey, when she then locks herself in a cell that just happened to be locked from the outside, but not the inside. Then she shoots The Beast twice, but he’s totally fine I guess, after two shotgun shells at point-blank range, and then he attempts to pry open the metal rebar cell with his bare hands (before he conveniently sees something). The Beast literally sees the scars on Casey’s body from when her Uncle has raped her since she was like 6 years old. Because of this, he leaves and then gets away and the movie ends after Casey is rescued.
Okay so first off, this movie is just kind of blatantly offensive, specifically to all the people who are diagnosed with DID. This movie kind of portrays them as a sort of monster, saying that they’re freaks of nature that don’t really blend in with society at all and are all looked down upon. Not to mention the fact of how ridiculous this movie is.
The Beast is literally shot twice, point blank, with a shotgun in the chest. And still manages to live and be perfectly fine. The utter uselessness of the other two girls doesn’t even matter. There is no character development whatsoever between the two, they just literally crawl up and die. They attempt to escape, but just end up being the dumb bimbos that inevitably die. Or, let’s touch on the fact that Casey is literally spared by The Beast because of the fact that she was raped. Like, what the hell? I understand the fact that The Beast only hurts the people that haven’t been hurt themselves, but of all things to compare them too, the best that Shyamalan could come up with was just some rape story? Sorry Shyamalading-dong, this doesn’t really make sense at all.
And while I totally understand that this movie is a sequel to the movie “Unbreakable” made in 2004, meaning it’s a superhero universe, it’s still really absurd for a plot. These twists that Shyamalan does are just really repetitive, expected, and predictable. I guaranteed that part of the ending was that the old lady will die, and the one significant abducted girl would read out the name that the old lady wrote down before she conveniently died after writing, thus bringing out The Beast. However what I didn’t see was the random ending of Bruce Willis in the final scene, thus telling us that it was the same exact Universe as “Unbreakable.” If I had to give this movie a rating out of 10, I’d say about a 6. While the movie is very offensive and poorly done as far as plot, it makes up for it with James McAvoy’s incredible acting throughout the film.